27th November, 2014
An Ikeja High Court on Thursday dismissed an application seeking to restrain a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, from participating in the party’s forthcoming primaries in Lagos State.
The ex-parte application which was brought by three PDP members, Babaunde Ogun, Suleiman Saheed and Wasiu Adeniyi Odusan, was struck out by Justice Kazeem Alogba.
The judge however fixed 9 December for hearing of the originating summons and directed the applicants to put the respondents on notice.
The ex-parte application dated 25 November was filed on behalf of the applicants by their counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP.
The applicants had asked the court for an order of interim injunction restraining Obanikoro from participating in the 8 December PDP gubernatorial primaries or that of any other political party.
They had also asked the court to restrain the PDP from nominating Obanikoro to INEC for the purpose of contesting the 2015 governorship election in Lagos State or any subsequent elections in Nigeria.
Moving the application, Shittu argued that Obanikoro was not eligible to contest for any political position based on the provision of Paragraph 4 (a) of Part iv of the Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections, 2014 of the INEC.
He exhibited several documents including an application form bearing Onikoro Musiliu Babatunde in support of the motion.
Shittu claimed Obanikoro had dual citizenship and also presented a forged birth certificate to the INEC in December 2006.
According to him, the PDP will suffer immeasurably during a contest with other political parties in the state if the party picks the first respondent (Obanikoro).
He said: “The applicants are not busy bodies or meddlesome interlopers. They are people with real interest in the matter and registered PDP members.
“We want the court to decide whether a candidate who has the kind of antecedent that we have exhibited before Your Lordship will be eligible to contest having regards to the constitution of the PDP.”
Shittu said since the primaries have been slated for 8 December, it was only proper for the court to restrain Obanikoro in order to protect the reliefs being sought by his clients.
Obanikoro’s counsel, Dr Yemi Oke, informed the court that his client had not been served with the originating summons, adding that the ex-parte application should not be entertained.
“It is a politically sensitive matter. We have not been formally served but we intend to do the needful. It will be out of place if my learned friend (Shittu) is allowed to move the application,” Oke said.
In his ruling, Alogba noted that the reliefs being sought by the applicants in the ex-parte motion and the originating summons were similar.
“The court will refrain from making any interim or interlocutory order that will seem like the main action has succeeded,” he said.
The judge said considering the gravity of the allegations made against Obanikoro, it was imperative that he should be given a fair hearing in the matter.
Alogba noted that the applicants had filed the substantive suit on 14 November but elected to file an ex-parte application dated 25 November.